OPSEU Pensions benefits banner

Don’t let Kathleen Wynne replace our watchdogs with lapdogs: OPSEU President

OPSEU Pensions and Benefits Logo

The following opinion piece by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, was published in the Toronto Sun on February 20, 2017.

Ontario’s public service workers and retirees feel like we are about to get robbed. Premier Kathleen Wynne is greedily eyeing our hard-earned pension fund and she wants to use our money to balance the deficit.

Clearly, we need a watchdog to protect us.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, our most important watchdog, was right to rule that the government cannot balance its books using pension fund surpluses.

But the Liberals don’t like watchdogs. They want lapdogs.

That is why Wynne bought the most expensive yes-people she could find to “advise” her on the pensions.

Reaching into your tax dollars and mine, she paid a group of so-called experts $2,000 a day — outrageous daily bills that could add up to $500,000 — to tell her what she wanted to hear.

At that price, Wynne knew she was not buying an honest answer, but instead a statement attacking the Auditor General.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) backs Lysyk.

If Lysyk does not succeed, then Wynne will have again squashed a vital check on her authority. After all, the Premier has already neutered the financial accountability officer who demanded that Hydro One executive salaries be disclosed.

Wynne is continuing to channel Donald Trump and swat down all dissent. She is simply not respecting any limits on her power.

Instead of listening to the people’s watchdogs, she only pays attention to her wealthy friends, bankers like Ed Clark, and the investors who are getting rich off of privatization.

This is more Liberal elitism.

For years, the Liberals been trying to balance the books on the backs of our members with austerity plans and their zero-raise agenda.

It is not the worker’s fault when politicians blow through money, so the retirement fund for frontline workers must not be used to clean up the government’s financial mess.

It doesn’t matter that a Liberal lapdog at the Toronto Star wants us to believe this is just a technical argument over accounting practices. Make no mistake, it’s a real fight over who owns billions of dollars earned by workers and invested for their retirement.

If nobody stands up to Wynne, I’m afraid her next move could be to actually steal our pension money, giving her more cash for overpaid consultants and Sunshine List executives.

We have seen corporate bosses play these games in the private sector, and in the end, workers always lost.

That is why I am calling on the Premier to come out now and say she will not touch the public pension plans.

This money belongs to the province’s workers — the people who earned it.